Staring Down the Barrel of the Mind:
Gun Control and Mental Health

Fall 2013 Symposium


The multiple tragedies in the recent past have renewed the national conversation about the relationship between mental health and gun violence. As part of this dialogue, the New England Journal on Criminal and Civil Confinement presented Volume 40’s annual Symposium, “Staring Down the Barrel of the Mind: Gun Control and Mental Health.”

The morning panel featured an exploration of current legislation and gun violence prevention techniques, and a screening of a mini-documentary about technological changes on the horizon that will influence the debate on gun control. Afternoon panelists discussed how mental health concerns affect gun control issues, focusing on the perspectives of law enforcement, legal practitioners, and mental health professionals.

Panel I, Current and Novel Issues

Moderated by Professor Tigran Eldred


  • Syrie D. Fried, member of Boston Bar Association group on gun control legislation; former Committee for Public Counsel Services attorney
  • John Rosenthal, philanthropist and founder of Stop Handgun Violence.
  • James Jacobs, professor of Constitutional Law and the Courts, New York University School of Law
  • David P. Linsky, Massachusetts representative, 5th Middlesex District
  • A screening of mini-documentary, Click, Print, Gun: The Inside Story of the 3D-Printed Gun Movement, with film producer Erin Lee Carr

Keynote address

Panel II, Effects of Mental Health

Moderated by Professor Louis Schulze

  • James G. Hicks, chief of police, Natick, MA; president of the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police
  • Lauri Martinelli, executive director, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Massachusetts
  • Debra Pinals, associate professor of psychiatry, University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • Robert Luther, mental health and firearms law practitioner; former adjunct professor of law at William and Mary Law School